With a customer base made up of over 182 million users and a presence in over 100 countries worldwide, eBay really does offer vast opportunities for any online retailer looking to sell more and grow their business.
Nice to know, right?
Well, while all of the above is certainly true, in fact plenty of retailers have successfully taken their eBay business from the bedroom to the boardroom (sort of), one of the biggest challenges lies in understanding where these opportunities are and knowing how exactly to capitalise on them.
Throughout this article, we have covered just about every key consideration and best practice you need to follow when selling on the marketplace, provided a whole load of eBay selling tips and ultimately given you the insight on how to successfully sell on eBay.
So, assuming you want to grow your eBay business, let’s get started.
How to find profitable products to sell on eBay
If you want to succeed on eBay, being able to find high demand and profitable products to sell is crucial.
Because regardless of whether you're just getting started and are looking for inspiration from the best selling items on eBay right now, or you're already an established seller looking for new product lines to sell, identifying top selling products that are already in high demand opens up new opportunities for your business.
...and these new opportunities create sales.
Fortunately for you, there is so much data available to help you understand this product demand, you've just got to know where to look.
Your best bet?
The eBay search bar.
You’ve probably already noticed that eBay will deliver search suggestions as you begin typing a search term into the search bar, but what you may not be aware of is that these suggestions are listed in order of popularity. What's more is that in most cases they also include the most popular categories for these products.
Let's assume you are interested in selling tennis related products.
You can see from the example below that the most frequently searched product associated with 'tennis' is in fact tennis balls.
What's more is that tennis balls are searched for in both 'Tennis Equipment' and 'Dog Supplies' categories.
eBay Seller Tip: If you sell a product that can be used for multiple purposes, consider creating separate listings to increase your exposure
While we'll get to eBay keywords in a moment, this is a great way to identify popular search terms, which can also give you an idea for new products.
"Tennis elbow support" and "tennis racket grip tape" may not have initially come to mind when thinking of tennis related products, but they are both amongst the most common searches related to tennis on eBay UK.
You can thank me later!
Now as great as eBay's suggested search functionality is, it's not the only tool at your disposal.
eBay Top Products enables you to get an understanding of product demand, by listing the most sold items on eBay. Surprisingly, this page is an often overlooked resource for sellers looking to get a better idea of what exactly sells well on eBay.
You also have Trending On eBay.
Trending on eBay provides invaluable insight into what’s hot and new on the marketplace. This is particularly useful for those of you looking for the best selling items on eBay right now.
For additional tips, resources and guidance for finding profitable product to sell online, we would recommend that you have a read of this.
How to get an eBay listing to the top of the search results
Ranking on the first page of eBay is the goal, right?
If not, it probably should be!
Here's the thing - while there are a number of factors that influence how successful you are as an eBay seller, two of the most crucial are visibility and conversion.
Take visibility for example.
If your eBay listings aren't visible to potential buyers who are searching for a product that you sell, you won't get their business. In fact, you won't even be considered as they won't know you exist.
At the end of the day, visibility is everything and the amount you get comes down to how good a job you have done at optimising these listings.
Think about it. If your listings aren’t perfect, they won’t appear anywhere near the top search position on eBay, which will impact the amount of sales you make. Not ideal.
So, what exactly do you need to do to optimise your eBay listings so that they appear higher in relevant eBay searches?
To start with, you will need to think about the process someone goes through to find a product that you sell on eBay.
This often consists of two things:
The keywords they are using to search for a product and the criteria they are selecting to refine their search.
When it comes to choosing the keywords for your title, a key thing to remember is that the closer your title comes to matching a search query, the more likely it is to be seen by a potential customer.
This is why it’s so important to really think about the search terms your customers will be using.
So, how can you do this?
Well, quite easily with the help of a few tools.
Google's Keyword Planner is a fantastic tool for identifying the most popular keywords and search terms that your customers are searching for online.
Best of all it's free.
Now while it's not specific to eBay, it does provide great insight into what online shoppers are looking for as a whole, which you can use to help improve your eBay listings.
Another great tool is the eBay Search Bar, which can help you to understand popular search queries on the marketplace through their suggested search functionality.
But that's not all.
By seeing what works (not to mention what doesn't work) for your competitors, you can optimise your listings accordingly.
One way to do this is by simply searching for products that you sell on eBay. You can then go one step further and refine the results to see "Completed Listings". This will show you the listings that have sold.
It's then your job to work out why!
For further guidance and best practices for the above suggestions, make sure you take a look at our step-by-step guide to conducting keyword research for eBay titles.
Once you have identified relevant keywords and phrases for your products, you will need to create your eBay titles. To do this, we would highly recommend that you follow these five best practices:
- Accurately convey what exactly you're selling by using descripive keywords
- Take advantage of the 80 character title limit, while avoiding the use of irrelevant information
- Avoid using misleading keywords and phrases, for example 'Like Cath Kidston', ALL CAPS and unnecessary punctuation i.e. !!
- Where possible, include the item's brand name, artist or designer
- Include relevant item specifics such as size, colour and condition
Unfortunately, crafting the perfect item title is only half the job and you will also be required to optimise your listings so that they appear in advanced/refined eBay searches.
This relies on the use of item specifics, which could include anything from size, colour, material, style etc. – it will be entirely dependent on the product that you’re listing.
Keep in mind that eBay users are highly likely to narrow down their search query, especially if they are looking for a particular product on the marketplace.
It’s also important to remember that when a user refines their search, only the listings that include the relevant item specifics will appear in their search results.
For a more detailed guide on optimising your product listings for advanced searches, have a read of this article.
Item specifics aside, there are various other factors that improve your chances of ranking higher in relevant eBay searches.
These include listing in the correct categories, including the product identifiers, having a good sales history and pricing your products competitively.
How to increase sales on eBay
Now that you know how to drive traffic through to your eBay listings for increased page views, you will need to ensure that they are of a high enough quality to generate sales.
After all, everything else is a wasted effort if customers aren’t actually buying your products.
With that in mind, here’s how to sell on eBay and ensure your listings are converting:
Whether your eBay sales are down and you simply need suggestions on how to improve them, or you are just looking for advice on how to create the perfect eBay listing from scratch, we have put together some tips and tricks that will help you increase your sales.
- Use high-quality product photos
Now this is important.
High-quality, professional looking product images can help you sell more – fact.
If you can showcase your products at various different angles, while accurately conveying the item's colour and size, you not only stand to sell more on eBay, but also increase customer satisfaction and reduce negative feedback.
- Detailed product descriptions
A detailed and accurate product description not only helps convince eBay customers to purchase from you, but it can also help eBay to appropriately rank your products in relevant searches. Here are some specific tips for creating perfect item descriptions.
- Offer free postage
While it won't always be viable to offer free postage on your products, if you can, you should.
Alternatively, if you can't offer it all year round, consider offering free postage around peak times such as Black Friday, the Christmas period and other key events throughout the year, in order to remain competitive.
See also: Get Your Free HTML eBay Listing Template
- Display a clear returns policy
eBay do in fact encourage all of their sellers to offer a customer-friendly returns policy, as this not only helps to win over more customers, but it also helps improve your chances of qualifying for eBay Top Rated Seller Status.
- Price competitively
While price isn't the only factor that convinces people to buy from you, if you operate in a highly competitive market, it can certainly be an advantage.
To get quick and easy insight into your customer's pricing strategies, make sure you download the eBay Competition Analysis and Pricing App, available in Linnworks' Application Store.
How to promote your eBay listings
While you should certainly be doing all you can to optimise your listings so that they rank as high up on eBay’s search results pages as possible, you can also improve your chances by essentially paying to promote them.
While eBay’s advertising option, Promote Your Listings, won’t be a good fit for every business, it could be particularly beneficial if you’re either launching a new product, experiencing a drop in sales for certain product lines, or you simply have a lot of competition and would like a boost in exposure. Ideally, you want to promote products that will benefit the most from extra exposure.
In fact, by paying for higher placement when selling on eBay, with eBay Promoted Listings, you can increase the visibility of your listings and ultimately strengthen your chances of sales.
So, how exactly does eBay Promoted Listings work?
While you can read more about how to promote eBay listings here including tips for getting started, we have summarised the basic steps involved with running Promoted Listings campaign below:
- Choose which of your listings you would like to promote as ads on eBay.
- Decide on the percentage of the sale price that you’d like to pay to promote your listings. This rate can be between 1% and 20% of the sale price, depending on how competitive you’d like your ads to be.
- Pay only once a customer has clicked on your ad and purchased your product.
- Access the data to understand ad performance and clicks, giving you the insight to adjust and optimise your promoted listings for even better results.
In order to get the most out of these listings, eBay do have a few recommendations of their own:
- Plan ahead – You should consider promoting relevant products alongside key events, for example the start of a new fashion season, in the lead up to a special event or a bank holiday.
- Stay competitive – Your chosen ad rate will determine when and where your ads appear, so if you’re going to choose to go down the paid advertising route, you should consider investing more for your products that have higher competition on the marketplace.
- Test, test and test again – Take advantage of the data available on your dashboard, to generate insights into what works and what doesn’t. By adjusting your ad rate accordingly, you can improve your success with this advertising tool.
Setting up an eBay shop
eBay shops give sellers a better platform to showcase their brand and promote their products. In fact, if you have a large number of items in your inventory, an eBay Shop could be an ideal fit for your business.
There are a whole host of reasons why opening an eBay store can help you to increase sales, but the main benefits include:
- Being able to customise your store with your own branding
If you sell on other channels, for example your own website, an eBay shop can be a great way to showcase your branding. That said, even if you are only selling on eBay, an eBay store allows you to have somewhere – complete with a dedicated URL – that you can showcase all of your products in the one place.
- Looking more professional
An eBay store helps you to appear like a legitimate retailer, rather than just a casual seller, which can instil trust into potential customers.
- More cost-effective
eBay shops are particularly great for sellers with larger order volumes, for the simple reason that they offer lower listing fees – as little as 1p per listing with an Anchor Store, compared to the regular £1.30 listing fee.
The types of eBay Shops
We’ve mentioned Anchor Shop, but there are in fact three store types you can choose from if you decide to set up shop on eBay:
- A Basic Shop
For as little as £20.85 per month*, a Basic eBay Shop allows you to sell up to 65 fixed price items per month, with listing fees from as low as 10p per listing. This is a particularly good option for sellers on the smaller size, still wanting to take advantage of the benefits that come with running an eBay store.
- A Featured Shop
With the option to stock as many as 600 items, eBay’s Featured Shop (£62.60 per month*) could be better suited to sellers with a larger inventory. By opting for this option, you can also start to benefit from eBay’s promotional tools such as Selling Manager Pro, as well as further listing discounts.
Find out more about the branding and marketing options available to you as an eBay store owner.
- An Anchor Shop
If you stock as many as 5,000 items, you should seriously consider opening an Anchor Shop, particularly if you’re looking for cost savings and the significantly reduced listing rates. In fact, despite the monthly fee being £260.86*, you could benefit from zero listing fees.
*Pricing correct as of November 2017
Selling internationally on eBay
There are two ways that eBay sellers can sell internationally on the marketplace – you can either list your items for sale directly on other eBay sites around the world or you can offer worldwide postage on your domestic listings (Basic International Selling).
Let’s take a look at both options:
Basic International Selling
With Basic International Selling, you are specifically creating one listing that is shown across multiple international sites. With this option, eBay will convert the price of the listing to the local currency, based on a daily exchange rate.
They won’t, however, translate these listings into the local language, which can of course impact your overall conversion rates in these international eBay markets.
You should also keep in mind that many sellers will filter out international search results, again reducing your search visibility. That said, this option is a great way to test the waters for different overseas markets, without investing too much time and resources.
Learn more: International Selling Opportunities With eBay
Advanced International Selling
Advanced International Selling allows you to create listings on eBay’s international sites, for example eBay.fr or eBay.com.
In other words, you will have to create separate listings for each country that you wish to sell in.
There are various benefits to taking this route, including the fact that your listings will appear in default search results (rather than being shown as an international listing), and you will also have the flexibility to translate your listings into the local language and tailor your pricing to the specific market.
This is particularly beneficial if you are selling an item that you can charge a premium for in certain markets.
When it comes to international eBay fees, you will be charged the appropriate rates for that country. If you have a Featured or Anchor Shop subscription, you’ll pay the discounted insertion fees for your equivalent shop subscription level in that country, which in many cases means zero insertion fees.
Not sure which countries to sell into? Take a look a look at this complete list of international eBay sites.
eBay's Global Shipping Programme (GSP)
eBay GSP is eBay's international delivery programme, enabling sellers from the UK and various other countries to sell to international customers, without having to deal with the process that comes with cross-border trade - verification of the product(s), completion of customs forms, international postage, parcel tracking and shipping related customer queries.
Instead, by using eBay's Global Shipping Programme, all you need to worry about is enabling global postage (or postage into specific countries) on your listings, and shipping your sold item(s) to eBay's shipping centre, so that they can take over fulfilment of the item.
While you can learn more about eBay GSP here, a few things to consider when using the programme include:
- GSP can protect you as an eBay and reduce the risks involved with overseas selling, as they take full responsibility over the international fulfilment of your product, as soon as it arrives at their depot.
- If the customer leaves neutral or negative feedback regarding shipping costs or delivery times, the review will be removed from eBay - assuming that the item was sent to the fulfilment centre by an appropriate time.
- There are no fees for joining eBay GSP, instead your final fee will be based on the price of the item, postage charges to the UK shipping centre and any additional charges that the customer incurs.
- Standard eBay selling fees and PayPal fees will still apply.
- When using the Global Shipping Programme, your customers will be charged two separate postage costs - your expense for sending the item to the shipping depot and then the international postage and associated fees.
- GSP cannot currently combine orders, meaning that all items must be shipped and paid for individually.
- The item must not weigh more than 30kg, be no larger than 125,000cm³ and be no longer than 120cm on the longest site.
- The item must not have a value higher than £2000 (or £800 in Russia).
You can currently use eBay GSP to post to the following countries:
All in all, eBay is a fantastic marketplace for any online seller looking to grow their business both domestically and internationally.
Of course, as you expand onto additional eBay sites, you may want to investigate your opportunities for streamlining your business processes, reducing company costs, saving countless hours and making data driven decisions with eBay inventory management software.